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Initiating A Program On Humanitarian Engineering: Rationale, Implementation, Problems, And Perceptions

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Programs: Look Ahead

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.734.1 - 9.734.11



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Paper Authors

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Jean-Pierre Delplanque

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Joan Gosink

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2171

Initiating a Program on Humanitarian Engineering: Rationale, Implementation, Problems, and Perceptions

Jean-Pierre Delplanque, Joan Gosink, and Juan Lucena

Division of Engineering Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401

Abstract With the support of a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, faculty at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) are initiating a new program in Humanitarian Engineering ( Our specific goals are to: create a culture of acceptance for humanitarian service endeavors among engineering students and faculty; increase the number of engineering graduates that enter occupations and /or internships in service related industries and organizations; and, increase the recruitment and retention of women and minority students. The project includes the development of a minor degree program in Humanitarian Engineering (HE). The minor degree involves extensive collaboration and participation of faculty from the Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies (LAIS) at CSM. First envisioned as a minor degree available only to students with civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering, the concept has evoked widespread interest among students and faculty at CSM, resulting in the planning of a second minor degree in Humanitarian Studies and Technology, which would serve students in applied science and economics. In this paper, we present some of the problems and issues associated with this multidisciplinary endeavor, involving engineering, the sciences and the humanities.

1. Introduction The 21st century has brought Americans a new awareness of anguish and discontent in lower income countries, and an emerging recognition of the need for U.S. participation to ameliorate this suffering. Attendant with these issues is the demand for enhanced security, safety, and equity for the disadvantaged. At the same time, engineering graduates shy away from political life, community service, and international work in the non-profit sector.4 Engineering talent is not making sufficient contributions toward the solutions of major human needs such as access to clean water, nutrition, as well as health and education facilities. It is also important to sustain both human systems and natural systems within an ethical framework which recognizes the disproportionate impact of engineering and applied science in contemporary society.9 Indeed the site for resource development is often within countries noted for autocratic or even dictatorial leadership where the public, and especially the poor have little impact on decisions related to land or water usage.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Delplanque, J., & Gosink, J. (2004, June), Initiating A Program On Humanitarian Engineering: Rationale, Implementation, Problems, And Perceptions Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13233

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